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Album Review

Washed Out: “Within and Without’’

By Carrie Battan
July 12, 2011

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There is perhaps no piece of music more closely aligned with the birth of chillwave - the faddish microgenre whose shimmering, synth-heavy lo-fi tunes have dominated indie-pop for the last two years - than the 2009 “Life of Leisure’’ EP from Georgia-bred Ernest Greene, also known as Washed Out. “Within and Without,’’ Greene’s belated first full-length, is a more polished extension of those songs. He shows that he’s mastered every corner of the aesthetic he helped to create, drifting seamlessly from the bright wooziness of “Eyes Be Closed’’ to the disco-tinged “Echoes’’ and closing out with a handful of tracks that are especially drowsy and doleful, weaving sultry undertones - as the bare bodies in mid-embrace on the cover might imply - throughout the entire disc. But by virtue of the fact that we’ve been inundated with so many sound-alikes since Greene started out, and because the genre’s lethargic haze is inherently lacking in punch, “Within and Without’’ is an afterthought that ultimately falls flat. Easy to listen to but impossible to feel excited about, this album is compelling evidence that chillwave’s allure has been eviscerated. (Out today)

ESSENTIAL “Eyes Be Closed’’